“What’s your biggest weakness/area for improvement?”

Whether you've asked this question of just one candidate, or hundreds, remove it from your list of interview questions now. Why? In today's competitive environment where you face limited time and resources, it's time to stop focusing on improving deficiencies in employees, according to consultant and author Shawn Rhodes for an article on BizJournals.com.

That doesn't mean you should stop focusing on improving employees' performance. Intstead, keep these 3 concepts in mind.

1. Performance can’t be raised by improving deficiencies

If you’re focused on improving deficiencies or weaknesses in your people, you’ll raise everyone to the same standard. Unfortunately, that’s not the same standard your competitors have. They’re trying to raise their bar past your standards every day.

2. Skills aren’t as valuable as attitude

Rhodes says that his research of high-performing teams and organizations shows that their hiring decisions were rarely based on a candidate’s existing skills. These organizations knew they could train skills, so skill deficiencies were a non-issue. Rather, they were focused on finding people with passion and ambition.

Instead of spending time in your interviews and performance reviews asking about past weaknesses, redirect your questions to future ideas for success.

3. People support what they create

In his work in studying human psychology, Dr. Robert Cialdini advises leaders to have their people create their own performance objectives. A person’s dedication to fulfilling a promise they made to themselves will always surpass a goal handed down to them from a supervisor, Rhodes says.

So, instead of asking about weaknesses and deficiencies in your interviews and performance reviews, focus your questions on future improvement. Improving performance doesn’t come from resolving deficiencies. It comes from creating a better future that you, and your team, are dedicated to achieving.

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